- Burkina Faso's military acknowledged on Wed. that counter-terrorist airstrikes carried out earlier this week in the country's southeast resulted in civilian deaths.1
- The army didn't provide the number of casualties, declaring only that 'several dozen terrorists' were neutralized and that the civilian victims were near a terrorist safe house in the Kompienga-Pognoa region.2
- Reports from witnesses indicate that up to 37 people died during the drone strikes on Mon., and another nine were hospitalized with injuries in Dapaong, Togo.3
- A probe was opened to determine responsibility for the incident, which follows a series of air operations to fight armed groups. In June, a civilian was killed in a strike against traffickers in the Center-South region.1
- This comes as Burkina Faso's military took power in a Jan. coup, vowing to tackle jihadist violence. Al-Qaeda and ISIS-linked rebel groups have reportedly killed thousands and displaced 2M since 2015, while spreading from the Sahel deeper into West Africa.2
- In June, civilians were ordered to leave two large areas in the north and in the southeast of the country before military operations against militants. The area hit on Mon. was near but not within those.3
- Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by Wall Street Journal. For years, Washington has warned that jihadists are targeting West Africa while they continue to destabilize the Sahel. Various coups in recent years have hampered the efforts of Western powers, mostly France and the US, to get the situation under control by militarily supporting local governments. The coup in Burkina Faso is just one of the latest sad examples.
- Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by Al Jazeera. The deteriorating security crisis in West Africa is primarily the result of the West's decade-long political and military interference under the guise of fighting terrorism. There is hope for the region only when it's no longer possible for the West to pursue its geopolitical interests unchallenged by pretending to 'help.'